Are females maternal manipulators, Selfish mothers, or both? Insight from pythons

Dale Denardo, Olivier Lourdais, Zachary R. Stahlschmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During reproduction, females often modify their behavior relative to the nonreproductive condition. These changes are frequently attributed to maternal efforts to optimize offspring development and survival (i.e., the maternal manipulation hypothesis). However, Schwarzkopf and Andrews (2012) recently challenged this concept as oversimplified, emphasizing that females should optimize their own lifetime fitness, and therefore maternal efforts may be directed at the female's future reproductive effort in addition, or even in contrast, to current reproductive effort. To provide insight into the relative importance of current versus future reproductive effort in shaping maternal behavior, we systematically explore a single study system - pythons. Pythons show distinct maternal behaviors during gravidity (modified basking effort), perioviposition (nest site selection), and postoviposition (egg brooding). By examining each component, we reveal that python maternal effort is predominantly aimed at current offspring. Yet, at times, females will make decisions that benefit their future reproductive potential at a cost to their current effort. Therefore, maternal behavior likely reflects a focused effort to maximize fitness through optimizing current reproductive investment, but such effort is not without consideration of future reproductive potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-307
Number of pages9
JournalHerpetologica
Volume68
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Fingerprint

Python
maternal behavior
reproductive effort
reproductive potential
fitness
nest site
site selection
nesting sites
egg
cost

Keywords

  • Brooding
  • Maternal manipulation hypothesis
  • Parental care
  • Snakes
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Are females maternal manipulators, Selfish mothers, or both? Insight from pythons. / Denardo, Dale; Lourdais, Olivier; Stahlschmidt, Zachary R.

In: Herpetologica, Vol. 68, No. 3, 09.2012, p. 299-307.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Denardo, Dale ; Lourdais, Olivier ; Stahlschmidt, Zachary R. / Are females maternal manipulators, Selfish mothers, or both? Insight from pythons. In: Herpetologica. 2012 ; Vol. 68, No. 3. pp. 299-307.
@article{69e4f4efec9247f3b51c84fe4f82e75f,
title = "Are females maternal manipulators, Selfish mothers, or both? Insight from pythons",
abstract = "During reproduction, females often modify their behavior relative to the nonreproductive condition. These changes are frequently attributed to maternal efforts to optimize offspring development and survival (i.e., the maternal manipulation hypothesis). However, Schwarzkopf and Andrews (2012) recently challenged this concept as oversimplified, emphasizing that females should optimize their own lifetime fitness, and therefore maternal efforts may be directed at the female's future reproductive effort in addition, or even in contrast, to current reproductive effort. To provide insight into the relative importance of current versus future reproductive effort in shaping maternal behavior, we systematically explore a single study system - pythons. Pythons show distinct maternal behaviors during gravidity (modified basking effort), perioviposition (nest site selection), and postoviposition (egg brooding). By examining each component, we reveal that python maternal effort is predominantly aimed at current offspring. Yet, at times, females will make decisions that benefit their future reproductive potential at a cost to their current effort. Therefore, maternal behavior likely reflects a focused effort to maximize fitness through optimizing current reproductive investment, but such effort is not without consideration of future reproductive potential.",
keywords = "Brooding, Maternal manipulation hypothesis, Parental care, Snakes, Thermoregulation",
author = "Dale Denardo and Olivier Lourdais and Stahlschmidt, {Zachary R.}",
year = "2012",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-12-00023.1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "68",
pages = "299--307",
journal = "Herpetologica",
issn = "0018-0831",
publisher = "Herpetologist's League Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Are females maternal manipulators, Selfish mothers, or both? Insight from pythons

AU - Denardo, Dale

AU - Lourdais, Olivier

AU - Stahlschmidt, Zachary R.

PY - 2012/9

Y1 - 2012/9

N2 - During reproduction, females often modify their behavior relative to the nonreproductive condition. These changes are frequently attributed to maternal efforts to optimize offspring development and survival (i.e., the maternal manipulation hypothesis). However, Schwarzkopf and Andrews (2012) recently challenged this concept as oversimplified, emphasizing that females should optimize their own lifetime fitness, and therefore maternal efforts may be directed at the female's future reproductive effort in addition, or even in contrast, to current reproductive effort. To provide insight into the relative importance of current versus future reproductive effort in shaping maternal behavior, we systematically explore a single study system - pythons. Pythons show distinct maternal behaviors during gravidity (modified basking effort), perioviposition (nest site selection), and postoviposition (egg brooding). By examining each component, we reveal that python maternal effort is predominantly aimed at current offspring. Yet, at times, females will make decisions that benefit their future reproductive potential at a cost to their current effort. Therefore, maternal behavior likely reflects a focused effort to maximize fitness through optimizing current reproductive investment, but such effort is not without consideration of future reproductive potential.

AB - During reproduction, females often modify their behavior relative to the nonreproductive condition. These changes are frequently attributed to maternal efforts to optimize offspring development and survival (i.e., the maternal manipulation hypothesis). However, Schwarzkopf and Andrews (2012) recently challenged this concept as oversimplified, emphasizing that females should optimize their own lifetime fitness, and therefore maternal efforts may be directed at the female's future reproductive effort in addition, or even in contrast, to current reproductive effort. To provide insight into the relative importance of current versus future reproductive effort in shaping maternal behavior, we systematically explore a single study system - pythons. Pythons show distinct maternal behaviors during gravidity (modified basking effort), perioviposition (nest site selection), and postoviposition (egg brooding). By examining each component, we reveal that python maternal effort is predominantly aimed at current offspring. Yet, at times, females will make decisions that benefit their future reproductive potential at a cost to their current effort. Therefore, maternal behavior likely reflects a focused effort to maximize fitness through optimizing current reproductive investment, but such effort is not without consideration of future reproductive potential.

KW - Brooding

KW - Maternal manipulation hypothesis

KW - Parental care

KW - Snakes

KW - Thermoregulation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84867315914&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84867315914&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-12-00023.1

DO - 10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-12-00023.1

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84867315914

VL - 68

SP - 299

EP - 307

JO - Herpetologica

JF - Herpetologica

SN - 0018-0831

IS - 3

ER -